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Feast followed by football famine

Thanksgiving feast followed by football famine

By Hunter Ford

The smorgasbord of Thanksgiving football from last weekend is soon to be followed by famine.

If you are a rabid college football fan like me you know what I mean.

The cornucopia of great football rivalries is over and the regular season is completed for most teams. Unless your favorite team is playing in one of the conference championship games, you will have to wait at least a few weeks to see it play another game, and that’s assuming it plays in a bowl.

If your favorite team didn’t qualify for a bowl, then it will be a long bleak winter and drawn-out summer before you get another football fix.

For me (and I will dare speak for many other football fans) there is nothing that can compare to the college football season. No other sport can adequately fill the void. One of our state’s basketball teams could beat the Harlem Globetrotters and it would only elicit a curious interest for die-hard football fans- not a truly passionate bond.

Once the bowl games are over in early January, an agonizing seven months of purgatory must be endured until finally, in late August and early September, we can finally be in football heaven again.

Between now and the bowl games, however, we football fans will be able to enjoy the annual ride on the coaching carousel.

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It was a short trip for Texas A&M. The Aggies hired Mike Sherman less than 48 hours after Dennis Franchionne resigned. That ended the speculation, created largely by the media and by Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville’s agent, that Tubby might be headed to College Station.

Still, there are openings at Ole Miss, Nebraska, Michigan, Southern Mississippi and possibly at Arkansas. When those jobs are filled, other coaching searches may ensue.

This college football season was a magical mystery tour for SEC teams. Nothing was really as it seemed.

Several teams began the season with stars in their eyes only to crash to earth in flames in November. Others weathered early storms and completed their voyages in style.

Vanderbilt was 5-3 heading into November but couldn’t capture the elusive win to make the Commodores bowl eligible for the first time since 1982.

Kentucky was 5-0 to start the year and then 6-2 after a win over top-ranked LSU. The Wildcats finished with a respectable 7-5 record, but it’s a far cry from the SEC championship game they were dreaming of.

South Carolina was 6-1 with a win over Georgia and one loss against LSU. The Gamecocks were de-feathered by their last five opponents, including rival Clemson and will probably be denied a bowl game.

Alabama was 6-2, coming off a big win over Tennessee before blowing its last four games, including a second straight loss to Mississippi State, a monumentally embarrassing loss to Louisiana-Monroe and a sixth straight beating at the hands of the hated Auburn Tigers. The Crimson Tide’s history of bringing fans to bowl games will keep them in the bowl mix however.

Georgia’s Bulldogs seemed toothless after an early loss to South Carolina and a beat down from Tennessee. But the Dawgs bared their fangs down the stretch with wins over Florida and Auburn. Georgia is now in a position to play in a BCS bowl game.

Tennessee endured blowout losses to Florida and Alabama and will represent the SEC East in the championship game this weekend versus LSU.

LSU attained the number one ranking, lost it after falling in overtime to Kentucky, regained it, then lost it again in an overtime loss to Arkansas in the final regular season game.

With that win Arkansas’ coach Houston Nutt made it harder for his bosses to fire him. Nutt’s Hawgs lost several early season games but finished strong at 8-4.

Mississippi State had perhaps the most satisfying season of all the SEC teams. The Bulldogs from Starkville finished with a modest 7-5 record, but for State fans that had seen the program in ashes, a winning season with victories over Alabama and Ole Miss was like eating steak after years of bread and water.

There are a few choice scraps left with conference championships and bowl games coming up. So belly up to the table…eat and drink up while you can…and save the memories from this season like a squirrel saves nuts. The pantry will soon be empty and the well dry until next September.

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